Burning a Hole ((attn Cel))

Interesting. Alexander couldn't think of a better word as he passed through the gates of Babylon and entered into what was supposed to be Heaven. The men were as handsome as the women were pretty, such pretty flesh on display. And how much of it was just display case flesh. Look but don't touch. Or maybe touch if you can afford it. More than likely.

When Alexander had informed Amberelle of his intended sojourn to Babylon he had expected her to be surprised, or even mildly irritated. Instead Amberelle had kissed him on the forehead like he was a child and told him to report back on the place.

Alexander was surprised at that, and the fact that Amberelle hadn't joined him. Of course, she had her own life - or unlife - to lead, so he had left her to her own devices. A waitress passed by with a silver tray of champagne. Alexander placed a fifty in her blue garter wrapped around her enticing long leg and took a flute. She winked at him and waggled her wings before prancing off like a prize filly. Display case flesh.

Alexander seemed to be somewhat more conservatively dressed, although being in a suit made some of the patrons give him a wide berth as he passed through the Heaven into what passed for Hell. Alexander downed the champagne and handed it off to a little man-devil who described in no uncertain terms what Alexander could do to him in one of the private booths.

In his day a suggestion like that would have earned the man a good flogging. Only the powdered poodles of the Court could get away with salacious debauchery like that. Alexander politely declined even after the man offered to clean Alexander's shoes with his tongue.

Alexander sat down in a circular booth and wondered how many of his clanmates, or indeed any vampires were here at the moment indulging their pleasures of the flesh, and mind, on willing humans. Alexander ordered a bottle of vodka and was tempted to kick the succubus who snarled at him with feigned rage. He couldn't tell which was worse. Fake angels, or wannabe devils.

Celeste 17 years ago
Hell was as hot as ever, Celeste though as she made her way through the club. Since her original visit she'd found herself coming here several times a week, quickly becoming a favorite among the girls with her generous tips. If they only knew how she was with her own money they'd never believe it.

But the Anantya didn't mind being generous with her expense account and Cel really found the place relaxing, someplace she didn't have to worry about running into her little cousin. It let her blow off steam but maintain a low profile while she prepared her reports and researched the younger De'Espionne's Nachton habits. Though she was almost done, and had only a few clanmates left to observe and perhaps speak with. If only she could get them away from Heolfor. Tomorrow she was going to be taking some ridiculous old town tour to research one of Amby's friends so tonight Celeste craved something wild and filled with debauchery.

Lady Regina was on stage and the brunette paused to watch her masterful control of a whip as she expertly lashed the lovely bound and gagged woman at the stage's center. A soft smile curled the vampire's mouth as the sound of leather snapping on flesh reminded her of her twin. Quickly blinking away the unusual happy look from her features, she scanned the area for a nice booth. Cel could already see one of the waitresses heading her way with a glass of wine for her, so she needed to find a spot to claim. A sculpted black brow rose slightly when her icy eyes rested on a most unexpected figure. A predatory smile crossed her pale visage before she spun on one booted heel to make her way to his booth.

Stopping directly in front of him, Cel turned slowly and leaned down, her hands grasping either side of the table as she leaned in letting her corset amplified bosom pour forth. Her short skirt left a good bit of enticing, silky thigh showing above her opaque black stockings. She loved how easily the men here mistook her for one of the working girls. Now, if Mr West was as sharp as the Creole suspected, he wouldn't be fooled but would recognize the silver charm hanging from her choker and glinting in the soft light at almost eye level. Her voice was silky smooth and stripped of her heavy accent as she purred, Well hello there... We should talk. Mind if I join you?

She looked straight into cool blue eyes so similar to her own and quirked a brow, her expression questioning.
Alex West 17 years ago
Her skin was a pale as alabaster, as pale as the pair of crystal blue eyes that stared at him with some amusement. Sleek black hair frame a face that was pierced with metal rings and studs. Not Alexander's taste, but she was attractive in her own way.

The woman wasn't very tall, and her clothing was designed to both intimidate the viewer and highlight the ample curves of her slender figure as she leaned forward, exposing her breasts, and the hilt of a concealed knife pressed between them.

Alexander would have dismissed her out of hand if the glint of silver handing from her choker hadn't caught his eye. He recognized the symbol immediately. He rose to his feet and nodded. With a wave of his right hand he offered the woman - the vampire - a place at his side.

"By all means, your company would be most... welcome."
Amberelle DeEspionne 17 years ago
Giving her clanmate a wide and fangy smile, Celeste slid into the booth and patted the seat near her. Do sit down, we need to chat a bit. Reaching into a small pocket on her skirt the Creole pulled out a slim silver cigarette case and slid out one of her dark cloves. Pausing with it in hand she let Alex produce an unusual looking lighter and offer her a light. It was quite an old fashioned style and it intrigued her, but the silver piece seemed to suit the elegant vampire. She smiled faintly and leaned in to light the cigarette and took a slow drag, turning her head to blow the smoke away from him.

Her crystal eyes studied him for a few seconds before she leaned back and flicked her free hand towards the hovering waitress. The blonde stepped up with a tentative smile and set down the glass of red wine in front of Cel. Tab, as usual Miss Celeste? Not looking away, the vampire nodded slightly. Can I get you anything else? she asked including Alex this time.

Once she was gone Cel smirked at her clanmate. So, I've seen you around the manor for a few weeks now and thought we should get to know one another... before I tell Cavalier about you. Cel paused, wondering if Amber had mentioned her brother to this man she was seeing. That would certainly be telling.
Celeste 17 years ago
Giving her clanmate a wide and fangy smile, Celeste slid into the booth and patted the seat near her. Do sit down, we need to chat a bit. Reaching into a small pocket on her skirt the Creole pulled out a slim silver cigarette case and slid out one of her dark cloves. Pausing with it in hand she let Alex produce an unusual looking lighter and offer her a light. It was quite an old fashioned style and it intrigued her, but the silver piece seemed to suit the elegant vampire. She smiled faintly and leaned in to light the cigarette and took a slow drag, turning her head to blow the smoke away from him.

Her crystal eyes studied him for a few seconds before she leaned back and flicked her free hand towards the hovering waitress. The blonde stepped up with a tentative smile and set down the glass of red wine in front of Cel. Tab, as usual Miss Celeste? Not looking away, the vampire nodded slightly. Can I get you anything else? she asked including Alex this time.

Once she was gone Cel smirked at her clanmate. So, I've seen you around the manor for a few weeks now and thought we should get to know one another... before I tell Cavalier about you. Cel paused, wondering if Amber had mentioned her brother to this man she was seeing. That would certainly be telling.
Alex West 17 years ago
Alexander shook his head at the waitress, he wasn't likely to polish off the bottle of 42 Below anytime soon. Alexander poured himself another glass and listened to Miss Celeste? was it. Celeste. Alexander hadn't seen her around the mansion before. A few weeks, a new arrival. But she obviously had heard or knew something about him.

I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage, Celeste?"

Alexander shifted closer to her rather than let her think symbol she wore made her his superior. Perhaps she was, but there was no way of knowing that yet. And she had extended the invitation.

"Let's not get off on a paranoid footing. Heaven forbid. My name is Alexander Westmoreland. People usually call me Alex West. Although I suspect you already know that."

Where had Alexander heard the name Cavalier before, it wasn't a metaphor, he was sure of that. For now the name would rest unanswered.

Alexander cut straight to the chase.
"Is this business or pleasure?"
Celeste 17 years ago
Chuckling, she simply smiled and nodded her head faintly as he introduced himself. Deciding to keep her companion in the dark a little longer, the Creole gave him a sly little smile. Just Celeste is fine, Alex. And yes.. I knew that. I've been watching you for some time now. Rupert was kind enough to put me in the room below yours, even without knowing I would have liked it.

Pausing to flick some ash from her smoke, the brunette seemed to consider his question. I would have to say it is both. Business and pleasure, the service of my family and protection of its reputation and honor are always a pleasure.

Which brings me here to have this little chat with you tonight. He hadn't shown any response to her question, which led Celeste to believe either her cousin never spoke of her family, or he never bothered to listen. Neither were good signs.

We should discuss your little dalliance, with Miss De'Espionne, I believe. Taking a sip of her wine, the regarded him with cool eyes, watching for the slightest reaction.
Alex West 17 years ago
Alexander calmly sipped at the vodka, his only reaction to Celeste's comments was the slight arch in his right eyebrow. Family, protection, reputation, honor. Familiar themes, Alexander thought wryly as he lowered the glass. Was she talking about Night business. Possible. The Elder of the Night could have taken exception to Alexander's 'dalliance' with Amberelle.

Of course there was the other alternative. The things Amberelle had only mentioned reluctantly about her Family. This Celeste was playing him very well and Alexander wasn't about to let her pluck every string without the risk of slicing a finger. Two could play this game.

As the glass gently touched the table top, Alexander coughed slightly and replied in French.

"A gentleman does not discuss such things in public with strangers, no matter what association he or she may claim. If this is a discussion desired by the Night, then I will answer. If it is not, then you will do me the courtesy of explaining why I should indulge your company and your questioning."

Alexander smiled politely and raised the vodka glass again.
Celeste 17 years ago
A slight tightening around her mouth and the faintest narrowing of her icy eyes was the only response Celeste gave to Alex's reply. She continued to sip her wine, thinking over her response a few moments before setting the glass down and giving him a faint smile. Her eyes glittered coldly but her face was neutral. Responding in French, she spoke quietly and distinctly.

Your discretion is admirable but annoying. Perhaps you need to understand this, Mr. West. I answer directly to Elder Sorin himself. And while she does not know it yet, so does little Amberelle now. While I admit to some personal interest in this matter, it is not the main reason for my inquiry and investigations. My purpose is to determine if she still has any value to us, if her skills have become lax and useless, and if you are a distraction she could do without. Is that clear enough or should I tell the Elder you require elaboration?

She arched a brow at him and waited patiently, curious about his response. Would he try to cover for his lady, or would duty to his clan prevail? Certainly a lot to be learned from his actions and the elder De'Espionne was very curious as to what kind of vampire would have finally captured her young cousin's affections and interest.
Alex West 17 years ago
Alexander almost smiled as he heard her reaction. Had he struck a nerve somewhere. Her face was as pale as alabaster, and as inflexible as marble. So this was partially a Clan matter, and partially a personal one. Alexander took his time sipping away at the vodka before answering in French.

"We could both play the who reports to whose Elder card, Celeste. But that would be pointless, or fatal. You never can tell. You want my assessment of Amberelle. You will have it. Physically, Amberelle's martial skills would be suited better to the Hunt than the Night, but that point is irrelevant. She is not lax in this respect and I have sparred personally with her myself."

Alexander placed the glass back on the table.

As to Amberelle's preferences, motivations and ideas about the Orders I cannot answer. That conversation has never come up. She knows who I 'work' for and has expressed neither opinion which would indicate a favorable or negative view on my calling."

"Certainly I can prove a distraction in the bedchamber, and anywhere else we choose to reciprocate this "dalliance" as you call it. But she certainly proves as equal a distraction to me as I do to her. She may have issues regarding discipline and control, but I place that firmly at the feet of her fear of intimacy and inexperience with such desires."

Alexander smiled slightly at Celeste. "And no, in my opinion if you want a killer, you still have want. And if want someone who is capable of following orders effectively and efficiently, you have that too. Whether or not she will like those orders is something I cannot answer."

"I find my relationship with Amberelle to be both rewarding and satisfying. If the Clan finds such a relationship to be detrimental to mine or her wellbeing, then that of course is the will of the Clan. Until such edict is handed down, I will stand by her side."

Alexander stared at Celeste as he calmly adjusted his cuff links. "I have no desire to make an enemy out of you Celeste, that would be counterproductive to the good of the Clan. I have been honest with you and I trust you will afford me the same courtesy. What is your relationship to Amberelle and what will be your relationship towards me?"
Celeste 17 years ago
Smiling thinly, Celeste wondered why his words had annoyed her so much. He had been honest, direct, apparently truthful.. nothing to find fault with. Yet those very facts about him were such an opposite to everything about her family and a typical Nightsman that it gave her pause. Could he be lying? Certainly. How best to approach this, she wondered. With blunt honesty? Perhaps.

Twisting in the seat some, she looked directly at Alex and sighed softly before speaking. Still talking in French but she allowed her accent to begin to show through, just a little. Your honesty is either refreshing or pure idiocy. Most likely both. Let me assure you when you are dealing with De'Espionnes the last thing you want to be is completely honest. You have no idea what you are involving yourself with Alex. Her expression darkened a second before returning to its neutral, expressionless look.

I know Amber better than you. If you think she would obey any orders now then you are sadly mistaken. The girl has forgotten her honor and her family. She ran away like a coward to hide behind the Elder's skirts and shirk her duty. Cel's disgust at her cousin's actions was apparent in her voice.

So let me tell you this, if you continue this... thing... between the two of you, not only are you putting yourself in a difficult position but her as well. The bitterness crept into her words despite her best efforts as she added, They will use you to control her, and hurt you to hurt her.

Her expression shifted and her eyes darkened some as she leaned in, a steely undertone in her voice. Amberelle has a lot more issues than you can imagine. The girl tries to ignore what she is and deny the beast inside of her. Smiling faintly with a memory, she added in a fond tone, I have seen the merciless angel of death she can be and it is a sight to behold, but her guilt and compassion hold her back. I was the one to hold her when she cried afterwards, and I have been the one to watch over her. As for her level of ability still... the fact that I have lived under her nose for over a month undetected proves that either she is slipping or you are a greater distraction than you realize.

Tell me... have you noticed her forgetting to eat? Not carrying her weapons as she should when she goes out? Did you know she associates with Orphans? None of these are the behavior of a De'Espionne and yet... she does. Her cool eyes surveyed him, curious for his reactions. Do you care? I will tell you this.. if you are not serious about her you would be best served severing this relationship now, because once it becomes known.. Well, your troubles will be many. Our family is not the easiest one to be a part of, and, she chuckled dryly, I know Cav well enough that he will want to rip you limb from limb if he thinks you are a threat to his baby sister.
Alex West 17 years ago
Alexander listened patiently to all Celeste had to say. He poured himself another glass of vodka and slid closer to her in the booth so that he was almost touching her.

"Pity the Clan when a lack of honesty reduces us to the status of common rabble-rousers and conspirators against our brothers and sisters, wouldn't you agree?"

It was a close-ended question, and Alexander didn't bother to wait for Celeste to reply, or affirm her loyalty.

"As for Amberelle, of course you know her better than me. Better then, or better now - the distinction is purely academic. And I think you may be mistaken if you question Amberelle's willingness to follow the will of the Clan. And when you are part of the Clan, you have no family but the Clan. To claim otherwise is folly."

Alexander raised his hand as if to gently touch Celeste's pale face.

"We are all being used, Celeste. You keep talking in terms of absolutes. And perhaps you are right. If I am controlled, then so be it. If I am hurt, so be it. And if I hurt Amberelle, so be it. As I said we are all being used. The question is how well can you dance when your strings are being pulled? I can dance pretty well. That's what I was created to do. Amberelle has no illusion of that."

Alexander flexed his fingers and lowered them, barely touching her skin.

We all have issues. Amberelle has hers. I know this beast of whom you speak. At least she is facing them. I have made that part of my burden, willingly. I have no problem with the maxim that a 'monster I am lest a monster I become.' But she is still young after all, I would have no compunction against killing every human in this room and walking away. And I suspect you would do the same. But I require a reason, beyond base instinct. The Clan gives me reason and purpose. Time is everything for us, and in time Amberelle will find her grounding."
Alexander leaned in close to Celeste so that he was whispering in her ear.

"What I can't figure out is why are you so annoyed with your little cousin? Is it because she can still feel guilt and compassion? Is it because she chose to leave the family and embrace the Clan? Or is it because your leash is held very short? Can you feel your handler walking in your shadow Celeste. Even now do sense his presence as you sit here and make polite conversation. Shall I weep for you De'Espionne. I am told that it can be quite refreshing. And you do disservice to yourself. You have lived under her nose for over a month undetected. Congratulations. I would assume your level of skill in this area would have to...satisfactory, would it not?"

Alexander almost reached out with his lips to place them upon her ear lobe. Instead he smiled as he pulled back.

"You believe Amberelle is a discredit to your family, to the De'Espionne. My answer then is this, is Amberelle a discredit to Anantya? I have received no word of this, and she has not been treated as a pariah in the halls of Heolfor or drawn the scorn of the Elders. You know where my loyalty lies first and foremost. Not to any particular group of individuals, but to the Clan itself. If you question my affection for Amberelle, then you question my devotion to the Clan. What Amberelle does is her own business unless the Clan says otherwise."

Alexander looked at Celeste and smiled widely.
"And there we have it Celeste De'Espionne. Shall we kiss now or would you prefer to do that in front of Amberelle herself? I would be glad to welcome you either way."
Celeste 17 years ago
Another time, another place Celeste may have found Alex's proximity arousing or at least interesting. She could see what drew Amber to him, he was attractive and intelligent and had a calm presence around him that she guessed the younger woman would find soothing and comforting. But.. He was far too stiff and cool for her tastes these days. Plus, right now the Creole found herself completely irritated and annoyed by his words and his presence so close to her person was grating on her. How could he so calmly accept the potential consequence of hurting Amberelle? Protecting the ones you love and sacrificing for them was what kept her going every day. His feelings were obviously not in this affair. That was what was bothering her, Cel realized.

Giving him an annoyed sneer she leaned away from Alex and shook her head slowly. De'Espionne or Anantya, they are one and the same. She was raised to know her place and has chosen to ignore it. To place her self and her personal desires above the commitments she made. That is what annoys me. As always she is a spolied and selfish little brat, not seeing the whole picture. Looking away, obviously exasperated, the vampire paused to collect her raging thoughts and get herself back under control. Why she was letting this man get her riled up was beyond her, and something she needed to reflect on later.

You speak of the Clan and your commitment to it. Obviously you had no family outside of it to pull at you. But you would be wise to realize that Amby has more ties than you. Ask her.. her family.. it will always be there. Be it a burden or a blessing, it's a part of who and what she is. All of us are like that. Shaking her head, she laughed softly. We have cousins who have served faithfully for centuries. It is the duty and obligation of a De'Espionne to serve Anantya by serving our Patriarch. Through him we bring glory to the Clan and to ourselves. Her words were half sincere and half mocking. It wasn't something she believed as much as she once had, but the sentiment was what they were raised to follow and should still hold true for her cousin.

Tell me Alex, you say you willingly accept her burdens. Does that mean you will accept her family? Will you put forth an effort to become one of us? Or do you feel yourself abve such simple and.. admittedly.. human .. sentiments? Answer carefully because I can guarantee you I know how little Amber will feel.. Celeste grinned at him coldly, fairly sure what West would say. It would be excellent ammunition to use against her little cousin later.
Alex West 17 years ago
Alexander smiled. Celeste was like the fox prowling outside the chicken coop, looking for a way in.

"Choose your words carefully, Celeste. There are those who would be offended to hear such boasting that De'Espionne claim equality with Clan Anantya. Our own history has examples of 'families' who claimed to have the best interests of the Clan, and were proven....otherwise."

Alexander could think of the two most obvious examples, and Celeste would no doubt be aware of that as well.

"The only freedom any one of us really has is the decision to choose how we will serve the Clan. And even that one choice can be taken away from us. Your cousin chose to serve the Clan in a manner that goes against what your family believes. I will not commend or condemn Amberelle for that choice, but I accept it."

Alexander smiled and shuffled closer to Celeste who had leant back from him.

"Amberelle already knows how I would answer your question Celeste. I put the welfare of Anantya above all concerns, even my own. It was how I was raised in this night 'family' of ours. If Amberelle wishes for me to accept her family, support it even - then I will. However if you wish to test my loyalty to Anantya by suggesting I transfer it to De'Espionne, because, as you put it - they are one and the same - then you are only testing my patience."

"Appeals to human sentiments fail when one is a firm believer in stoicism. I may sound dispassionate to you, even clinical. But Amberelle also knows about me. And she has accepted it, as I have accepted her. I may disagree with some of what you have said Celeste, but I respect you as a Clan member and not because you are Amberelle's cousin. I accept you for who you are. Can you accept me for who I am?"
Celeste 17 years ago
Alex's choice for comparison made her laugh, a rich and throaty sound. All Cel could do was grin at him. It was an observation she herself had made on more than one occasion but obviously there was no reason to point out the similarities and differences to the situation. Her expression remained amused as she simply stared, listening to his calmly stated words.

He moved closer and her irritation rose but her expression stayed the same. She was learning a great deal about the man her cousin had chosen and it was all quite suprising. Somehow she'd expected.. more? Less? It was hard to pin down Alexander in some ways and while the Creole found herself actually liking her clanmate she was still not convinced he deserved to affections of her little Amberelle.

When he was finished, Celeste turned her head aside and took a long drag off of her clove, exhaling slowly. Looking back so that their eyes met the younger vampire leaned in until thier forehead and nose were almost touching. Speaking in soft tones, she smiled but it didn't reach her eyes.

I accept you, and I think I can even respect a good deal of what you said. But I'm not sure I find you... worthy... of my cousin. Understand this. There are two things I exist for. Honor and family. I believe you sacrifice your own desires and needs for those you love. I would never take an action that would bring harm to those I care about. I believe that every action you take must be honorable and that there is no higher service than to your family's well being and success. While you consider Anantya to be your family, I mean those of my flesh, those of my blood. I serve the Clan, and I will always do what is best for it... but I will never put those I love in danger. Your willingness to do so, well.. it leaves me with a poor opinion of you Mr West. And I will say, no matter the reason or the cause, if you hurt Amby in any way I, and the rest of our family, will hunt you down and make you regret it in ways you can't imagine.

The last was said with a truely genuine smile. Yes, the only one who would be allowed to be hurting Amby in the foreseeable future was her.
Alex West 17 years ago
"I believe we will have to agree to disagree, Celeste De'Espionne. I believe in honor, but I also believe in service. I ultimately believe in sacrificing my own desires and needs not for those I love - or hate - but for what the Clan requires of me. It is not for me to question the will of the Clan, and attachments and appeals to family, friends, and yes even lovers, will not persuade me from doing what is required if the Clan asks it. That is my burden and one I have shouldered willingly and without reservation."

"I did not lie to your cousin about who I am and what I believe in. I promised her nothing but tonight and the promise of tomorrow. I..adore her. I am infatuated with her. And I have not felt this way about one of our kind, ever. You may not find me a worthy pairing for your cousin, but she considers it so."

"Threaten me with all manner of brutalities if you wish, I do not take it personally. But consider what I have stated earlier. To claim De'Espionne is the equal of Anantya is to border close to heresy, and even treason. Never forget that."
Celeste 17 years ago
Leaning back against the booth, Celeste observed her clanmate for a moment before nodding slightly. Agree to disagree, she would accept that. The Creole found her opinion of him was mixed. He wasn't a bad sort. His loyalty seemed to be unquestionable, even if she couldn't agree with his interpretation of where it should lie. And the Englishman seemed sincere in his declarations about the youngest De'Espionne. But she knew the road ahead for Alex and Amber wouldn't be an easy one and she worried for her cousin. Despite all of the warnings Cel had given to never let yourself close to anyone, to never make yourself vulnerable with affections for another, it seemed the blonde had to learn that harsh lesson for herself. A small part of her was actually a little relieved to see that the pains of her past hadn't kept Amberelle from being able to care for another, especially a man. After Tokyo Celeste had had her doubts. Only time would show how fragile the little one was if the two came to be at odds over Clan decisions. No, not if but probably when, Cel thought sadly.

Sighing softly she took a last drag from her now finished cigarette before pinching the butt and grinding it out between her fingers. Celeste spoke in English now, not hiding her accent anymore. I'm glad you don't take my words personally, they are not meant as anything other than the promises one always makes to suitors of your charge. They will be in my reports, and will keep Cavalier from bothering me, something I do try to avoid. Unable to help it, the younger vampire smiled at her cousin's beau and admitted quietly, I love my cousin very much, Mr West, no matter how much she may dissapoint and infuriate me.

Shrugging off the out of character admission, she continued quickly. Amber is the baby you know.. and we have all always done our best to take care of her.. to try and keep her from as much ugliness as we could. A bitter smile twisted her features briefly and Cel picked up her glass and took a large sip of the dark red liquid. But the brightest and loveliest always seem to draw the darkness to them, and well.. She has always had the most potential of all of us, if she would stop holding herself back.

Blue eyes scanned his face briefly, unsure of how much he had been told of their family. Some of it wasn't her place to share, and some of it the Anantya felt he really should know but that would depend on how he reacted.
Alex West 17 years ago
Disappointment. Potential. So that's why Celeste was upset with Amberelle. Not out of spite or malice, but love and concern. How ironic. Alexander would have to ask Amberelle about her elder cousin and her Family. If his relationship with her was going to cause problems he'd like to have some sort of indication of what they were before he got burned.

Alexander finished the glass of vodka and placed it back on the table. He carefully refilled it as he addressed Celeste.

"So you've been in Nachton for a month now, Celeste? And taken up residence down from me so to speak. The gymnasium and dojo is within easy access of where we both stay. Perhaps that is why Rupert placed you there. Perhaps one night we might engage in some training, some good natured sparring?"

Alexander put down the bottle and lifted his glass.

"If you're anything like Amberelle I suspect you'll be a most pressing opponent. And probably my better. But I would welcome the chance to spar with another De'Espionne."

Alexander smiled, letting Celeste think on that offer. He doubted she would refuse. Especially if she considered him unworthy of her younger cousin.

"And I note you are somewhat well known here, in this Babylon. How is that?"
Celeste 17 years ago
Her eyes lit up and Cel nodded at the suggestion. If they were able to spar then the Creole would be able to get quite a bit of good information about him. Hopefully she would have something positive to report. Gustav would be pleased with him being a Nightsman and if he was a decent fighter then both Grandmere and Cavalier would be more likely to approve. That made her pause. Apparently she wanted him to meet the family's approval, interesting.

Oui, I left specific instructions for my room that included a direct view of the dojo and training areas. Shrugging, she explained. Easier to make my observations that way. And I would enjoy the chance to spar with you some.. what kind of training do you have? I'm sure Amber told you all about the various tutors we had, and the forms we studied? She's quite gifted, even if she does fight as bit too reserved sometimes.

Catching the eye of their snarling waitress the Anantya glanced down at her nearly empty glass and gave the woman a pointed look. She immediately made haste to the bar, and Cel turned back to Alex.

So she bested you? Interesting.. Pausing a moment, her head tilted to the side and she pursed her lips, studying him. That should have been a deterant, but perhaps he was being modest. Her cousin was becoming less predictable, a puzzling development. But maybe a good one. If she was finally coming out and growing that would be a good thing.

Glancing up from her momentary lapse into thought, Cel grinned at Alexander. Well I have to admit a certain fondness for Hell.. If you're already damned why not induldge in all the vices eh? And well... the brunette stopped and considered for a moment before deciding to share a little about herself. He had made an effort to be honest, so would she. To be completely honest I love to indulge in some of the more.. dark.. pleasures. Leather and chains and a submissive human make for a tasty meal, comprendre vous? Grinning widely, she added, My twin is a professional dominatrix so I have quite an appreciation for the field.
Alex West 17 years ago
Alexander nodded as he listened to Celeste and smiled warmly.

"I wouldn't exactly say Amberelle bested me. We were sparring unarmed. Different techniques, different styles. She's more agile than I am, but I take punishment better than most. If anything it was a stalemate."

Alexander laughed softly at the memory. The stalemate had been quite pleasurable.

"I'm a rather good pugilist and a practitioner of an Indian specialty known as Kuttu Varisai. Not many of heard of it these days. I grew up with a sword in hand, but use nothing like the Oriental weapons your younger cousin seems to favor. I've dueled with stakes, somewhat of a dangerous practice but a familiar enough activity in London and Europe. And pistols, I can use one fairly well."

"Amberelle has mentioned the martial skills to which your family aspire to, and are very well skilled in. I would take it as an honor to test my own against yours, although I suspect I would be the receiving most of the lessons."

"Your reasons for the choice of your abode were the same as mine. I like to keep in training whenever possible. And it can be peaceful in the dojo. Just to sit there and meditate."

Alexander sipped at his vodka while the waitress met Celeste's order with speedy compliance.

"I prefer domination and control, submission doesn't do it for me... usually. To cower an opponent with a well phrased sentence is oftentimes more effective than the back of my hand."

Alexander rubbed his chin and thought for a moment before carefully choosing his words.

"Celeste. If one wanted to court a daughter of the De'Espionne, how would one go about it in a manner consistent with family tradition and honour. I may disagree with you on some aspects of your family, but I do wish to continue courting Amberelle. And I do believe in doing so in an honourable fashion."
Celeste 17 years ago
Hearing Amby described as agile made Celeste snort softly. Yes, her cousin was quite the slippery one when she tried. A mental ahh went through her head as she picked up on the subtle clue Alex dropped. So he was able to take punishment well? That was a skill she had herself. Interesting tidbit for her report she thought, filing it away. Maybe if he was very useful Gustav would approve. 'Isn't that what you thought about Alastair? And how wrong were you then?' a voice in her head mocked.

Her eyebrows rose and she looked suitably impressed when Alexander mentioned his training. It was a rather unusual art and while she wasn't trained in it as well as some other forms she was familiar. Kutta Varisai. Very impressive, she said with a nod of approval. I'm somewhat familiar, it's more my speed than Amber's. Grinning some, she added, I can take a beating easily, too. 'There, let's see if he gets that,' she thought with a mental smile. As for the weapons.. well, we all have our favorites. Amber works well with the Oriental ones, they suit her style. But we've trained on almost any weapon you could imagine, since you have to know how to use it to defend against it.

Laughing softly, the Creole wondered if he was trying to be polite or was merely modest. I would say Amberelle and I are about even in skill. Well, when we bring our A game. And I think I might enjoy teaching you a thing or two. The Anantya smirked at her clanmate. He was fun, witty and she wasn't so irritated she wanted to stab him yet. Most people never made it this long.

Taking her glass from the suddenly very meek woman, Cel slid a hand up her thigh and caressed her slowly. A hunger was starting to make itself known and she wondered if her companion would want to dine together. A nearby patron loudly called the woman away and the vampire hissed for her to come back directly. Nodding with a small gulp she dissapeared.

Another gem of information spilled forth from Alexander's lips and Celeste smiled into her glass. He had a commanding presence it would seem. 'My my my.. Gustav may indeed like this one,' she thought dryly. You have that in common with our sire.. well, partially. Gustav does enjoy both forms of control and subjegation. Fear, pain or a well versed command are equally used weapons in his arsenal. Oh, a word of advice... Amberelle hates command so I'd be discreete. A sigh and a shrug accompanied the statement, he could take the advice or not.

Almost choking on her wine at his next inquiry, she looked at him for a moment before setting her glass aside and looking thoughtful. It was a delicate situation, and Cel wasn't sure who to direct him to. Biting her lip she drummed her fingers on the table for several seconds, as she mulled over her reply.

I think you should start with Cavalier, he's her only living direct blood relation. And he is the one who has always taken care of all of us. Amber especially. You might think Gustav but.. I wouldn't suggest tackling the dragon without some backup and Cav and Grandmere would be your best choices. Besides, those two will be the only opinions that matter to Amberelle. I will put in a good word for you, maybe. Depends on how you fight. Have to make sure you can hold your own among us, or you'll be dismissed out of hand. A slight smirk crossed her face. We're quite the physical bunch.

Seeing the pretty human returning, Cel erased her smile and snarled at her faintly. Her reward was a slight tremble of fear. Her reputation preceeded her, and she loved it. Grinning to show her fangs she brought the waitress' wrist to her lips and breathed on it softly. A quiet, sadistic chuckle came from her as a shiver went through the formerly surly succubus and she asked in a trembling voice if there was anything else she could serve the Mistress now. Looking up through her lashes with her crystal blue eyes as cold as diamonds Cel let the question hang unanswered several seconds before smirking. A sharp twist of the human's wrist dropped her to her knees with a whimper and the vampire leaned closer. Turning to include Alex in her gaze she growled against her ear A private room in ten minutes, with something... pretty, and fiesty. Sending her on her way with a rough shove, Cel grinned at Alex.

Since it sounds like we would both have a hard time incapacitaing the other I think a match between you and I would be very entertaining. How about a snack and then we see how well you measure up? There was challenge in her words and on her face.